Windows 10 Globalization Walkthrough for Bi-Directional Languages - Microsoft Store
Microsoft Store was made it debut as with Windows 8 and has since undergone a few changes. We decided to perform a globalization walkthrough on the latest release of the Microsoft Store as part of our Windows 10 Globalization Walkthrough series.
About Globalization Walkthrough
Globalization walkthroughs examine international UX and functionality across a product or feature:
UX Design reviews provide an opportunity to ensure that international design requirements are taken into account and identify potential design gaps and limitations that may deteriorate the experience for international users.
Functionality Reviews examine feature functionality with a focus on international environment configurations and use cases. Test Localized UI Functionality and international text input. Test End to End integration & cross-platform consistency.
If you are unfamiliar with design requirements for Bidirectional languages (BIDI) please check out our recent article on UX Best Practices For Bi-Directional Languages.
Our Previous Walkthroughs:
Microsoft Store Home Page
We set our regional setting to Hebrew and location to Israel and began our review on the Microsoft Store Home Page. The Home Page had a couple of obvious issues, collections Titles and descriptions were displayed in English.
In addition, the home page was not curated and or showcase local content. The Microsoft store architecture provides the ability to curate content for a specific market, but it seems that the product team did not deliver and or produce a locally relevant inclusive user experience. Instead one of two possible mistakes were made,
The product team quality assurance mechanisms completely missed the fact that they were shipping a partially localized store experience.The product team made a conscious decision to produce a partially localized user experience, something that often leads to poor results especially in BIDI languages where text directionality tends to make the UX difficult to use due to deteriorated readability.
Application Home Page
We switched over to the application page and found that many description strings were not localized including category names, but was most problematic was inconsistency across the store, for example when we clicked thru into the App landing page the category names were localized correctly.
The search page had a couple of issues including inconsistent translations for the terms filters, one was transliterated into Hebrew while the other was using the proper localized text. The other issue had to do with the rating drop down list which had bad reading order, the items in the list should be right aligned followed by the number of items on the left.
What was really disappointing here was the fact that users are not provided the ability to search and filter by App language and or market. A more inclusive design would have allowed users to locate applications based on their language and location preference.
At first glance this page looks pretty good in terms of layout, but then we realized the "checkout" button was translated as "exit" in Hebrew, we proceeded to "checkout and added a payment method where we also found localization issues in the credit card details page, where the year (YY) drop down list was translated into Day (יי) in Hebrew.
We found three issue in the Wishlist page, most obvious were App descriptions which require content-based text alignment in order to improve readability. App Ratings which are expected to progress from right to left also had some directionality issues as shown in the pictures. The last issue had to do with the localization of the "included with Game Pass" string which makes no sense what so ever, seems as if it is clipped.
App Landing Page
With many of the applications being in English we noticed that the application pages had the App description aligned incorrectly as well as user reviews, which contributed to a confusing experience across the UI. The Rating indicator should also progress from right to left.
The App store should consider producing a layout experience that matches the apps source language direction in order to produce a more professional showcase experience for developers who opt into the Windows ecosystem.
For Arabic markets the most apparent issue was Native Digit support, the store UI had a mix of Eastern and Western Arabic digits displayed which was really confusing and inconsistent.
Walkthrough Conclusion and Key Takeaways
Seems as if the store team didn't fully commit to producing a locally relevant and inclusive experience when it comes to the Microsoft Store. We were disappointed the store was not curated to the local market and did not highlight local apps, and the overall UX readability was inconsistent especially because of the mixed language direction. App's were not truly showcased but rather dumped into a template that was not suited to handle BIDI market requirements. Localization quality was subpar for Microsoft standards and seems as if no quality assurance checks were put in place. Microsoft has been known to sometimes produce partially localized experiences, but with BIDI languages that is a very difficult thing to pull off successfully. Our recommendation would have been to ship it in English if you were not fully committed to localizing the store.
How Microsoft can Improve
Educate and engage Design, Development, Program Management, and Quality teams on BIDI market requirements.
Ensure Development and Quality teams perform product testing on Arabic, Hebrew, or Pseudo Mirrored localized builds.
Looking to create a more inclusive multilingual experience?
Check out my recent articles on the topic of multilingual UX:
The World Ready Guides plan to engage with the world's leading software producers by publishing product reviews that focus on software globalization, our goal is to raise more awareness within the design community by providing practical real-world examples sourced out of today's most popular software products.